Wadax vs Vivaldi

Hi Friends,
If this topic has been covered before, please let me know (but I didn’t find it in an initial search).

I own a Rossini but have read much about the Wadax (and its corresponding price tag). Unfortunately, I have only had an opportunity to hear a Wadax Reference DAC once, briefly at an audio show (AXPONA), on an unfamiliar system.

My question is …… Has anyone heard the Wadax Reference DAC vs Vivaldi and if so, what were your impressions?

You have a Rossini, so you know how it sings. You listened to a Wadax, so you hear how it sounds. Normally you can have an idea what differences are, and which one you prefer.
I have a Rossini, and I listened to Wadax ref…

I have’t done a comparison yet, but might do at some point in the new year.

The Wadax does have some interesting design elements in their system; primarily using digital signal processing techniques to mitigate non-linearities in the system’s analogue elements (originally incorporated to address Phono inputs and RIAA equalisation).

By the way, if you’re interested, there’s a recent YouTube video interview with Javier.

Interesting insight that we are much more sensitive to time than to amplitude. I‘m not sure I buy that the slope of the bits needs to be adjusted before the bits go into the DAC and he admits that different setups may require different adjustments to the slope of the bits. So there is no one ideal slope of the bits?

If you are talking about Wadax reference dac…I had the opportunity to hear it and obviously to see it.

First the sound…Nothing special, good, but nothing exceptional.
Now, let’s talk about the only exceptional thing I noticed with this dac: how ugly it looks like !! And because I am a nice guy I won’t talk about the most useless display of the entire HIFI industry !!!

If you like watching dCS products, MSB, Linn, Naim…You cannot consider this ugly design in your room.

That is disputable, it is a matter of taste, but it is my taste.

I know the sound is the most important, but unless you are blind, you see your stereo while listening to music…


From Javier’s description, that “DWC” (Digital Waveform Control) appears to be a signal regenerator to clean-up electrical binary signals - which would only be necessary if that Server-to-DAC interface has no error-correction abstraction-layer.

Javier says that connection is asynchronous and bi-directional, that would suggests that Akasa module/interface is actually an isochronous optical USB interface, i.e digital, traffic-guaranteed, and latency bound, but without error-correction.

I also found his suggestion of using the DAC’s adjustable output impedance for “time alignment” to be a very bad idea. He’s basically saying; raise the output impedance of the DAC to address room frequency-response issues.

Overall, Wadax seems to have reinvented itself a little. In the early days back around 2009, including in their early white-paper, they were all about using DSPs (the MusIC ASIC) to mitigate Vinyl playback issues, including fixing Phono stage and Cartridges as well as Speaker Crossover non-linearities (they even had their own active speakers), but it all seems to be a very different story now.

Still, I’m curious to hear it in a familiar setup :thinking:

Hi Chris,
I also like aesthetically attractive gear : )

Just saying I am not the only one on the forum who puts components on the floor, or on isolation bases on the floor. Accordingly, I do not generally see my gear during playback. It’s quite nice to see only the speakers, or to close my eyes and listen. Also, this approach minimizes soundstage interference.

Separately, this is one thing I love about dCS gear: the display off function. Solid black screen with no lights or moving parts delivering musical bliss : )

(via Rossini DAC)


Anupc … thanks for posting the interview with Javier, I found it fascinating. I didn’t understand it all but it was captivating, none the less.

ChrisK …. re: the Wadac look, you still have me laughing!

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I’m with @ChrisK on the looks — to me the Wadax looks like a cinema Coke dispenser.

I don’t doubt that it sounds good, though, and I would LOVE to hear it in a familiar system. There are several people I trust who’ve bought one, and that’s not something most of us would do lightly.

Here’s hoping the next top-rung dCS not only sounds even better, but looks as good as the current dCS range. (I’d expect echoes of the Lina’s visual language, but taken much further so that the top-of-the-range models LOOK the part too.)

Yes, I doubt Mrs Struts would give it house room. She is not really into the ‘steampunk’ aesthetic. Anyway, the more interesting thing is how it sounds. I have one friend who has heard one who has pretty good ears who thought it might have been a little “second harmonic”-y. But it was in an unfamiliar system so he is reserving judgment. Don’t think it has been shown in Sweden so I might have to plan a trip to Munich this year ti check it out.